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First Look: Acrobits Softphone – SIP calling for iPhone

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Acrobits recently provided me with a copy of their flagship product, Softphone. Softphone is a VoIP iPhone app, which allows you to make calls over a wifi Internet connection when no cell service is available, or to make low-cost long-distance calls.

The app has a very easy set up, supports multiple SIP accounts, and allows you to quickly switch between them on the fly so you can take advantage of the best SIP rates based on where you’re calling to or from.

softphone_screens

Acrobits uses a high quality G.711 audio codec which produces very decent sound. I made several calls using Softphone over my home wifi and a trial Gizmo5 account, and I must say I’m quite impressed with the sound quality and the Softphone app’s interface.

My only previous experience with SIP calling was back in 2005, when the technology was far inferior than it is today, so I went into this review with pretty low expectations. What I discovered, however, was that Softphone provides a calling experience almost equivalent to the built-in Phone app with audio quality that’s also very close.

Where Softphone takes it one stop further is by providing an in-call recording function. With a single tap, you can immediately begin recording the call and save it to an audio file for later playback or sharing. The app integrates with the iPhone’s Address Book, allowing you to search existing contacts and even add new contacts. You can even save a sip:username URL in the phonebook.

Softphone also provides the standard speakerphone functionality, a detailed call history, and a QuickDial panel, where you can save up to 12 contacts for one-tap dialing. Rather than create a multi-protocol client where SIP is only one of the protocols, Acrobits decided to build an app that’s focused on making calls. That way, there are no compromises made in the user interface thereby improving the overall usability and call experience.

Softphone does provide incoming call support, as long as the app is left open in the foreground. A setting in Softphone will prevent the iPhone from sleeping if desired, though this reduces battery life. Acrobits informs me they are working to implement push notifications for incoming calls in a later release, but at this time the app must remain open to receive a call. Also, though I’ve not personally tested this, I’ve been told that Softphone will work just fine with Backgrounder, which allows apps to run in the background on jailbroken iPhones.

Though I probably won’t find myself using a VoIP phone very often, as I just rely on my iPhone and AT&T’s cell coverage, for times that I might ever need to place an international call, I will definitely be using Acrobits Softphone. If you currently have a SIP account, you should give Softphone a try. Also, there are many services on the web that provide free outgoing SIP calling, several of which work with Softphone.

One note to keep in mind however, at this time, Apple only allows VoIP calling over wifi, so Softphone will not work over 3G or Edge.

You can read more about Softphone on Acrobits website (link), and purchase the app on the iPhone App Store (link) for $7.99 USD.

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  • Dario

    After reading your post, i've try to run Softphone on my Iphone. I love it!!!

  • Pingback: Acrobits Softphone VoIP App Updated With Push Notifcations For Incoming Calls | Just Another iPhone Blog()

  • In Canada, please see http://www.OctopusIP.com for SIP subscriptions and hosted PBX services.

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  • Jay

    does anyone know where in iphone call recordings are saved? what folder / subfolder???

  • Acrobits SIP app works great with the Octopus SIP PBX service. dial phone numbers or directly to your SIP PBX. Great work Acrobits! Look forward to seeing this app take off!

  • Kelly

    I just started using this app with FonAngle my Hosted PBX provider and I very happy with the quality. It takes a couple seconds for the call to buffer and establish but after that it is great. Best part is now I can use this over 3G, this rocks.

  • Hanz

    I bought this program and I am happy with it until I notice something strange. Whenever I run it, this program is sending UDP data to amazon cloud computing at the address: ec2-204-236-220-22.compute-1.amazonaws.com port 4998 UDP, length 24. Its doing this repeatedly. Anyone else seeing this? This makes me very worry.

    • Amazon AWS is Amazon Web Services. I would hope / imagine that the UDP stuff you're seeing just means that some portion of the Softphone infrastructure is hosted on AWS servers. I don't see any immediate reason to find that suspect.

  • Hanz

    UPDATE: I think I know what it is now. I was too paranoid. It seems that the traffic to amazon cloud server is for PUSH registration. Turning off PUSH, removed the traffic. False Alarm!

    • Yup, makes sense. Most app publishers do not host their own servers for push.

  • DJ Megahertz

    Well I got this program because in part of the good comments, and oddly enough due to the price being higher than the rest.. I generally subscribe to "you get what you pay for" and thought this would just be the best phone..
    I do find it to work very well, I even went and got the G.729 codec and it rocks, but today I just figured out something that really disappointed me.. At the time of this writing, the client has ZERO support for call waiting and three way calling.
    My application requires me to be able to transfer calls and also accept multiple calls.
    This is a huge problem for me, and will require me to look for another client.. Might have to head over the Zoiper.
    I emailed tech support with the inquiry on when this might be resolved..
    If anyone has that answer, please reply.
    Thanks.